The image portrays a girl who appears to be pregnant. She is leaning back with her knees bent and her right hand on her back. There is a lit cigarette in this hand and also in her mouth. In her left hand she carries a white wicker basket with a frill and some dolls legs sticking out from the top. Her hair is piled on top of her head and her eye make-up is dark. She is wearing pink shorts, a white dotty blouse, a blue gingham jacket and a pink band on her wrist. Her eyes are almost shut as she looks down.
‘NO SMOking’ is scrawled across the bottom of the page in Childs style chalk writing, the photograph is clear and likely to have been taken in a studio on a grey background, it could have been retouched and cropped. The model is stood in the centre of the picture, the shot is close up with her elbow and legs beneath the knee out of shot.
Patrick Demarchelier well known for his glamorous fashion shoots, often featuring in international advertising campaigns and magazines. His work is flawless, posed and often monochrome. Although the ‘No Smoking’ shoot is in colour the brightness is somehow limited, this ties in with Demarchelier’s usual style. In his many nude shots he plays with light, using the form of the human body to create shapes and highlight different parts of the body. The stance of Lily Donaldson in the ‘No Smoking’ photograph catches the light and enhances her baby bump, making it the focal point of the picture.
Although Demarchelier’s style can be seen clearly in the photographs, I think that Carine Roitfeld’s influence is more presiding.
Roitfeld is known for her controversial shoots that some may deem unsuitably styled for Vogue. She certainly demands attention and has succeeded in shocking readers with this realisation. Interestingly since this photograph was taken she has said (about the launch of her book ‘irreverent’)
“The book is dedicated to my husband, who quit smoking seven months ago. When he decided to stop smoking, I said, My God, it’s too bad I didn’t try to help him to stop before. Now I decide I will never use a cigarette again in any shoot. When you’re doing fashion pictures, you’re talking to lots of figures; some are very young, and they’re like sponges. So if your girl is smoking a cigarette, they can say, Oh, my God, it’s smart to smoke a cigarette, it’s good for the look, so I’m going to have one, too. And it’s totally stupid. It’s an easy solution to make a picture more interesting, but it’s not the only solution. And now it’s like, forgive me for all these cigarettes I’ve put in all these issues.” Carine Roitfeld, Vogue.com 2011
To me this proves that her intent was definitely to provoke a reaction. Also by repeatedly bringing up the taboo subject of the cigarette, she continues to use the subject to provoke more reactions. It may be a coincidence that this was brought up while promoting her new book, but in my opinion, it probably was not.
Many people have taken offence and criticized the series of photographs, I believe that Roitfeld wanted this to happen, she has never defended herself or even really explained what she is trying to portray with her work. To me it seems that she wants people to interpret the photograph in different ways, have their own opinions and to create a debate among a society seemingly obsessed with the ‘glamour’ of motherhood.
“When critics criticize, they do much more than express their likes and dislikes – and much more than approve and disapprove of works of art. Critics do judge artworks, and sometimes negatively, but their judgements more often are positive than negative: As Rene Ricard says “Why give publicity to something you hate?” Terry Barrett, Criticising Photographs 2000
This quote explains how Roitfeld could be accepting the retaliation as positive criticism. They might say they dislike her work but as Rene Ricard’s quote highlights, they may like it more than they realise. Plus they are giving publicity to Roithfeld and...
Bibliography: Barrett, T. (2000) Criticising Photographs: An Introduction to Understanding Images, London: Mayfield Publishing.
Berger, J. (1972) Ways of Seeing. London: Penguin Books.
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